They come from a certain time and have a certain age. Call it good manners or mistake it for sexist condescension but there are some men still around who will exercise restraint and forebearance when a woman , even one with whom they are competing, displays ignorance or arrogance, vices that too often seem to gravitate together.
In what was billed to be the Thursday Thrilla for the VP Villa, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin went all out to stake her claim on a credible run for the number two spot in Presidential politics. From the outset, she went into the senior Senator from Delaware's face with an awkward request that sounded more like a demand: " May I call you Joe?"
The Joe in question, a man of tremendous experience and knowledge, offered a sweet manly smile and shook her outreached hand.Throughout the subsequent debate, the younger rival strained and sweated to establish some credentials, often at the expense of the dignity and life long record of the Senator.
Never once did the Delaware Senator respond to the baiting rancor of the Republican rival. Time and again he looked past the erroneous assaults and impolitic strivings of his opponent. Keeping his eye upon his fellow senior senator who seeks the Presidency for the Republican Party, Gentleman Joe allowed every glancing blow to strike him with nary a retaliatory response.
One truly civil person of politics emerged from Thursday Night's debate. He sought neither to denigrate nor defeat his rival. Rather he in the true tradition of the great paideutic shapers of high culture offered an education to first, the American people and then to the many interested citizens of the world and yes, also to the rarely informed and scarcely listening youngster across the stage.
Gentleman Joe Biden won the debate not by guile or gotchas but by the rare gift of gracious civility and the keenness of wisdom borne of experience.